Measure Z – Frequently Asked Questions

Measure Z Frequently Asked Questions

How are Portola Valley schools doing?
We are proud of our award-winning Portola Valley schools, Ormondale and Corte Madera. Each of these schools has outstanding teachers and provide a strong academic foundation that prepares students for success in high school and beyond. Each year, both schools place at the very top of state evaluation criteria.

What is the condition of our schools?
Although we provide an excellent academic program to our students, our schools and facilities are 30 to 60 years old and need to be upgraded to meet current safety standards. Basic repairs to leaky roofs, plumbing, fire alarms and electrical systems are needed. Additionally, we need to provide up-to-date classrooms and science labs to support a 21st-century education.

What is Measure Z?
Measure Z is a local facilities bond measure that would provide local funding to upgrade and repair Portola Valley Schools.  Measure Z would provide $49.5 million in upgrades and cost $30 per $100,000 of assessed, not market value, per year. This funding can only be used to improve the physical condition of the schools.

The measure would: 

• Replace leaking roofs, plumbing and electrical systems
• Upgrade aging classrooms, labs and technology infrastructure to support academic instruction in math, science, reading, writing and the arts

• Upgrade outdated fire alarms, classrooms, facilities and security systems to improve school security and meet current safety codes

• Update educational facilities to keep pace with 21st century teaching and learning

What improvements are needed at Ormondale?
Some of our classrooms at Ormondale are over 40 years old.  In addition, we have aging portables that are 30 years old and need to be replaced. Lighting and electrical systems are outdated, heating and ventilation systems are inefficient, roofs need repair, and our fire alarm system needs to be replaced.

What specific improvements are needed at Corte Madera?
At Corte Madera, we have fifteen classrooms that are up to 50 years old and need to be upgraded or replaced.  Plumbing, electrical systems and heating systems are also outdated.  In addition, classrooms and labs need to be updated to meet today’s demands for a 21st century, well-rounded education. 

Could Measure Z funds be taken by the State?
All funds from Measure Z would stay in our community to improve Ormondale and Corte Madera schools. All funds would be controlled locally. No funds could be taken away by the State or go to other school districts.  

How much would the measure cost? 
The measure would generate $49.5 million to improve our local schools and cost $30 per $100,000 of assessed, not market, value, per year as long as bonds are outstanding.  Every penny would stay local to support the improvement of our local schools.

Have we ever passed a bond for our schools?
In 2001, 73% of Portola Valley voters approved a measure to fund renovation and construction at our schools. Although much has been accomplished, this bond was not intended to upgrade all of our facilities, as many classrooms were not replaced or upgraded.  In addition, our schools are continuing to age and need to be updated to meet current safety standards. Updates are also needed to meet today’s standards for science and academics. 

What’s the difference between a bond and a parcel tax measure?
A bond measure provides local funding to make improvements to classrooms, buildings and facilities, whereas a parcel tax provides funding that can be used toward teachers, academic programs or classroom supplies. By law, a bond measure can only be used toward facilities and equipment—bond funds cannot go toward salaries or pensions.

Would Measure Z qualify our schools for state matching funds?  
Yes.  In order to qualify for state matching funds, school districts must first pass a local facilities bond measure like Measure Z.  If Measure Z passes, our schools would be eligible to file for competitive state matching funds. 

Why was the measure placed on the ballot during the summer?
The deadline for placing a measure on the November ballot was August 10, making it necessary to hold a school board vote during the summer months. The board vote was the culmination of months of planning and communication with the public, as the District conducted a review of its facilities needs and also reached out to the public to understand community priorities. The November measure is the result of this outreach and would update our local schools.

How was the plan developed?
This measure is the result of two years of working with the community to evaluate our facilities and develop a plan for addressing our most urgent improvements. The District developed a Facilities Master Plan, which outlines the long-term needs facing both of our schools, estimated costs for improvements and priorities for addressing these needs. The plan was developed with input from a committee of parents, school personnel and community leaders. 

Would Measure Z complete all of the updates outlined in the Facilities Master Plan?
No.  Measure Z would only address a portion of the updates outlined in the Facilities Master Plan.  

What about parent donations?
Parents and community members generously donate to our schools each year and provide essential funding to protect and improve the quality of education in our schools. However, private donations cannot cover the full cost of renovations and repairs at our schools.

When will Measure Z appear on the ballot?
Measure Z will appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot. All registered voters who live within the boundaries of Portola Valley School District will be eligible to vote on the measure.

Will this election be conducted by mail?
Yes. San Mateo County is conducting the November election entirely by mail. This was a decision made by the County and not the District. Even if you normally vote at the polls, no polling places will be open on Election Day. Instead, all registered voters will be mailed a ballot in early October.  

How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?
To register to vote, you can register online at You can also contact the San Mateo County Registrar of Voters Office by calling (650)-312-5222 or by going to their website at